State Impact Spotlight: South Carolina Promotes Learning with a Personal Touch (April 2018)

SC PL SessionSouth Carolina’s personalized learning framework offers students access to individualized instruction, which often serves students better than traditional instructional approaches. The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) has a multitiered system of professional development (PD) for personalized learning (PL) that supports schools and districts on three levels: Tier 1: Exploration–49 schools, Tier 2: Launch–23 schools, and Tier 3: Advanced Implementation–12 schools. The agency also provides face-to-face training for educators including virtual staff.  

On February 6, 2018, Robyn Madison-Harris, senior technical assistance (TA) consultant; Ursula Hill, South Carolina state liaison;
and Danny Martinez, senior TA consultant, with the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC); and Diana Sharp, VirtualSC Partnership on Student Success in Online Learning partnership manager with REL Southeast; provided support during a PD event held at the Lyon Street Student Services Center in Columbia (pictured). This session followed intense planning at which VirtualSC educators explored
how to implement personalized learning principles in the virtual environment. For example, the facilitators discussed PL principles such as choice of content media (video, print, graphics) and modeled varied learning arrangements (collaborative groups, individual) with the participants.

School visits are a major component of the personalized learning initiative, with SCDE visiting over 100 schools in the past year. SECC staff Madison-Harris, personalized learning project lead; and Martinez, videographer/photographer; accompanied agency staff on several visits to capture PL in practice via videography. Videos are being compiled with respect to PL factors, such as student pace, student ownership, flexible environments, etc. These videos will be shared on several platforms to show how PL is being implemented across the state.

In addition, South Carolina is offering other forms of educator support such as Inquiry Labs, in which interested personnel visit schools that are implementing PL. Lauren McCauley, SCDE lead associate, Personalized Learning, explains that “staff from 26 districts have participated in the Inquiry Labs, and we have established a Coaching Network composed of 50 coaches from 24 districts.” The SCDE also frequently shares webinars and newsletters containing resources, some of which were provided by SECC. To ensure that student learning needs are being addressed, SCDE is developing relative competencies to support the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.

To learn more about personalized learning in South Carolina, visit the SCDE website, blognewsletter, and Twitter feed (#personalizesc). For details on SECC’s state work, visit

Newsletter Name
College- and Career-Readiness Standards & Assessment E-Newsletter